San Ramon #MeToo Attorneys
#MeToo Lawyers in San Ramon
The #MeToo movement launched a reckoning with sexual harassment. The viral nature of the hashtag highlighted that sexual harassment often goes unchecked across all walks of life. While #MeToo has drawn much-needed awareness to the issue and resulted in accountability for powerful public figures, the reality is that sexual harassment continues to occur.
If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you are not alone. You may feel like there is nothing you can do about it, but you have important rights and legal recourse to pursue compensation. The San Ramon sexual harassment attorneys at Erlich Law Firm are here to listen to your story and help you understand your legal options.
What is the #MeToo Movement?
The #MeToo movement first took off on social media in 2017 as a viral hashtag that united sexual harassment and sexual abuse survivors in solidarity. As it gained traction, the movement sparked a modern-day reckoning that called for the accountability of perpetrators in the entertainment industry and other positions of power. It also allowed sexual harassment survivors to speak up about their stories.
According to a 2019 California survey on #MeToo, 86 percent of women and 53 percent of men said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime. Among the women surveyed, around 36 percent reported being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Many types of conduct can be considered sexual harassment, some more overt than others. The harasser can be anyone in your workplace, such as a coworker, supervisor, client or contractor. Workplace sexual harassment can be classified into two general categories: hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment. Common forms of sexual harassment include:
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Verbal harassment
- Physical touching
- Inappropriate messages or emails
- Pornographic images and videos
The misconduct does not have to take place in an office to be considered sexual harassment. You may have a sexual harassment claim against your employer if you were subjected to unwanted behavior during a company dinner, offsite meeting or other employment-related events outside the workplace.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
In 2019, around 10 percent of California women said they experienced quid pro quo sexual harassment. Quid pro quo is from a Latin phrase meaning “this for that.” It is a severe form of harassment in which a worker is offered employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
For example, a manager may pressure an employee for sexual contact in return for a guaranteed raise or promotion. Sometimes instead of receiving an employment benefit, the worker may face threats of being fired or suffering harm to their reputation if they refuse to comply. The threat may be obvious or implied.
The #MeToo movement has brought attention to the role of power dynamics when it comes to sexual harassment. When quid pro quo harassment occurs, it typically involves someone in a position of power at a company, such as a boss, manager or business owner. No matter the specifics of the situation, quid pro quo harassment should not be tolerated in the workplace.
What is a Hostile Work Environment?
A hostile work environment is the result of ongoing misconduct of a sexual nature that is severe and pervasive enough to create intolerable working conditions. In sexual harassment cases that involve a hostile work environment, California courts consider whether a “reasonable person” in the same or a similar position as the claimant would find the harassment to be abusive or intolerable. The pattern of alleged misconduct must occur frequently enough or be severe enough to alter the conditions of employment.
Here are some common examples of behaviors that may contribute to creating a hostile work environment:
- Verbal harassment: Sexual comments, lewd jokes, gossip, cat calls, using words like “honey” or “babe.”
- Physical contact: Unwelcome touching, obscene gestures, display of pornographic images.
- Unwanted sexual advances: Asking for sex, pressure for a romantic relationship, inappropriate personal questions.
- Online harassment: Sending inappropriate emails, sharing pornographic online videos, using social media for sexual contact.
How to Deal with Sexual Harassment at Work
If you are being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace, there are several things you can do to get the unwelcome behavior to stop. Additionally, taking the following steps will help strengthen your case if you decide to take legal action in the future:
- Ask the harasser to stop: Make sure the person understands that the behavior is unwanted and violates the employer’s code of conduct.
- Report the harassment: If the misconduct persists, report it to a supervisor or human resources. Follow your company’s internal procedure for filing a formal complaint.
- Collect evidence: Document all instances of sexual harassment, keeping detailed notes on where, when and how it occurred.
- Contact a #MeToo attorney: Employers are required to promptly investigate complaints and try to stop the harassment. If your employer fails to act, you should reach out to an experienced sexual harassment lawyer.
Certain employment situations make it challenging or even impossible to report sexual harassment. Sometimes the harasser is someone in a position of power, or your harassment complaints are being repeatedly ignored.
When you are in intolerable circumstances and fear putting your job at risk if you speak up, it is best to contact a San Ramon #MeToo attorney right away. Erlich Law Firm can guide you on your next steps.
Retaliation is Unlawful
At Erlich Law Firm, we recognize how difficult it can be to speak up when you are being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. Employees often fear retaliation from their employer for complaining about sexual harassment.
However, California laws protect workers from retaliation as reporting sexual harassment is a legally protected activity. San Ramon employers are prohibited from firing you, giving negative performance reviews or punishing you with other adverse actions. An experienced San Ramon #MeToo attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for a retaliation or wrongful termination claim in addition to your sexual harassment case.
Time Limit for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a sexual harassment claim is typically three years. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to pursue compensation.
Call for a free case evaluation
The San Ramon #MeToo attorneys at Erlich Law Firm are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace. We understand that the idea of taking legal action against your employer can seem daunting. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers are available to answer all your questions and address your concerns. We are with you every step of the way. Contact us for a free initial case evaluation.
FREE CASE REVIEW
When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.